England focused on improving rather than end of unbeaten run

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England have no need to mourn the end of a 30-game unbeaten streak they barely discussed in the first place, said boss Sarina Wiegman.

The Lionesses fell 2-0 to Australia in their Brentford friendly on Tuesday night, the first defeat since the Dutchwoman took charge in September 2021.

Wiegman had wanted more meetings against top competition ahead of this summer’s World Cup and in world number 10 Australia got more than some thought she had bargained for.

“I haven’t been focused [on the unbeaten streak] at all,” said Wiegman. “We just want to win every next game, and yes you remind us of [it] all the time, but we don’t talk about that in our camp.

“We talk about the next game, and that we want to improve every game, and try to adapt to the opponent who is in front of us and try to bring our qualities on the pitch.

“Yes, it would be really nice to have the 31st win, I would love that too, but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

“[The loss] doesn’t feel great. I think a big learning thing against a very physical, well-organised, aggressive, good-defending Australia.

“We really wanted to get more behind the defence and have run behind, and switch plays, so we let them run a little more, but we didn’t do that great and made some mistakes.”

One of those lapses put the Matildas ahead on 32 minutes.

Captain Leah Williamson tried to set up a routine defensive header, directed at goalkeeper Mary Earps, but underpowered the ball and allowed Chelsea striker Sam Kerr to swoop in and score.

The England skipper was also involved in the Matildas’ second goal, a first in green and gold for Charlotte Grant whose nodded effort deflected off Williamson before going in.

The Lionesses head back to their clubs for domestic duty while Wiegman will turn her attention to finalising the squad who will travel to Australia for the World Cup, with England set to open their campaign against Haiti in Brisbane on July 22.

They entered Tuesday night’s contest on a high after clinching the inaugural Women’s Finalissima trophy at Wembley last Thursday, although that match was ultimately decided on penalties after the visitors found a last-gasp leveller.

Win or lose, said Wiegman, matches against top competition are vital in exposing potential areas of vulnerability ahead of England’s quest for a first global title.

She said: “I’m not worried. I don’t worry very easily. We know we have to be at our top level. Every game we get some warnings. I don’t think we’re losing momentum, it’s fuelling, it’s 100 days to go and everyone is really excited to go to Australia. It’s just a really big learning for us.”

Kerr was pleased for her side, but acknowledged only pride was on the line – while much more will be at stake when Australia welcome the world in July.

She said: “It’s obviously a really big performance for us, we’ve got a lot of players out but unfortunately beating England tonight doesn’t win us anything. I wouldn’t be here if it did, I’d be out celebrating.

“It’s obviously nice to put in such a good performance, we’ve had some up and down performances over the last couple of months so to finish out tonight before we go home is nice.

“They’re a really good team, a lot of the girls haven’t played a big team like this and players as good as these players so it’s a good performance for us as a team but some players played great individually too.”

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